T-Mobile completes 5G ‘layer cake’ in New York City with activation of 2.5GHz spectrum

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After going live in Philadelphia last month, T-Mobile has now flipped the switch on its 2.5GHz 5G coverage in New York City.

Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s president of technology, confirmed today that T-Mo has activated its 2.5GHz 5G in New York City. T-Mobile already had mmWave and 600MHz 5G live in NYC, and now that it’s merged with Sprint, it’s activated 5G on the 2.5GHz spectrum there, too.

This means that T-Mobile customers in New York City with a Galaxy S20+ or S20 Ultra are the first to have access to T-Mo’s full “layer cake” of 5G. This means they can access all three of the mmWave, 2.5GHz, and 600MHz flavors of 5G.

Other 5G devices on T-Mobile can access the 600MHz and 2.5GHz 5G airwaves. Those include the OnePlus 8 5G, LG V60 ThinQ 5G, Galaxy S20, Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, and OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren.

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T-Mobile’s “layer cake” 5G strategy aims to give customers a combination of coverage and speed using high, mid, and low-band spectrum. For example, the high-band mmWave 5G offers super-fast speeds but can’t reach very far and isn’t great at penetrating buildings while the low-band 600MHz 5G can reach farther but isn’t as fast. The addition of mid-band 2.5GHz 5G allows T-Mo to add more depth and speed to its 5G network.

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Source: Neville Ray (Twitter)

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  • rock_steady

    “all three of the mmWave” .listed on T-Mo website are only 2 mmWave freqs: Band N260 (39 GHz) and Band N261 (28 GHz). so what’s the 3rd one?

    • sturmen

      That sentence is worded weird. What they meant was “[customers] can access
      all three of the flavors of 5G: mmWave, 2.5GHz, and 600MHz”

      • Mike

        Yes, sure sounds right. Of course it comes down to how the phone is programmed to handle those layers.

  • resource

    I thought the S20 had all 3 bands on T-Mobile? Just VZW had a separate model?

    • Hurlamania

      Only the S20+ and ultra have mmw

      • rock_steady

        Looks like the Ultra has no mid band 2.5GHz ☹ it’s really hard to locate these specs. why can’t Samsung just list this on their website like Apple does.

        • Brad C

          Because as usual, Samsung is about half-assing it just to be “first” with something.

        • marque2

          Good excuse for Apple – maybe they can join the 5g bandwagon when 6g comes about. Then we will know 5g is mature.

        • Brad C

          Cool. Let’s talk in a year when all these Samsung devices stop receiving proper updates and half of them are incompatible with most of the network ;)

          Apple will be the first to have a full line that will get 5yrs of updates and be fully compatible with all networks – not a half assed experiment that’s useless in 1.5yrs

        • marque2

          I prefer updates that purposely aren’t proper so they artificially hamstring my phone so I am forced to buy a new one.

          Seems like the three years of updates on my Samsung phones never caused problems – more Apple fanboi myth over truth?

        • Brad C

          Cool so 3 full android versions? If they’ve done that it’ll be the first time in history Samsung has ever done more than 2 android releases and i guarantee you that you won’t get 5 releases like an iPhone would

        • Somebody’s gotta be the first out there. Where else is apple going to steal it’s ideas from?

        • marque2

          False. Samsung custom designs phones to each customer. TMobile hasn’t had 2.5 GHz 5g until 5 weeks ago. By the time it is implemented by TMobile you will probably have an S21 or 22 anyway.

          Also Apple has a better plan of not providing bands and technologies in the first place apparently. Bang the rocks together guys.

    • Mike

      That’s how the cell carriers get ya. They put out phones that are missing something in hopes you upgrade a phone quickly. Just think of the old Sprint customers stuck with an s20 not capable or lack of being capable to use 600 mhz? Not sure how T-Mobile will handle that?

  • Frankwhitess

    It’s pointless to have 5G if you are Not offering it to iPhones . Sorry guys , But Apple Rules …. T Mobile knows this .

    Once Apple has 5G ,… it will be Game On !

    • marque2

      Wouldn’t this be Apple’s fault for not manufacturing phones that handle all three bandwidths? Apple usually is a year or two behind in picking up on new technology. It is amazing how the fans then think Apple invented it.

      • TenEightyPeePee

        Actually… there are many times will wait until something can be done “right”… or wait till a tech matures before jumping in. It was the same with LTE. The first LTE phones were a hot mess with horrific battery life. (HTC Thunderbolt). Then didn’t jump in until a full year later with iPhone 5… first iPhone with LTE. They have not jumped into fingerprint under the display because… really… all of them are flaky at best. Same with 5G. They are simply waiting for better radios from Qualcomm and more network buildout from the carriers.

        • marque2

          That might be the case sometimes – like now with 5g the battery life is poor again – and as the qualcomm chips get more advanced the power requirements will go down again. But no excuse to be a premium phone and be a late adopter of most technologies. Some there was no point accept arrogance. NFC on Apple was 5 years late and stymied by the fact that Apple only wanted to produce metal cased phones. The Google Pay/Wallet we had for years suddenly came to Apple and everyone thinks they invented pay by phone. There is even a Samsung commercial joking about Apple fools standing in line for a phone with few features. Alas, I can’t post the URL here or it will block my post.

        • Brad C

          Still does not change the fact that they do it right when they do finally pick it up. LTE that’s 200+Mbps on a regular is fine on my 11 Pro Max, and I can still get 2 full days of usage out of my phone.

          5G will most likely be on the one this fall, which I will gladly skip and let that radio tech mature another year before getting a phone that barely makes it a day under my heavy usage, also NFC really is not a big deal. I rarely if ever use it on either my Note 9 or 11 Pro Max, actually other than using ApplePay at an ATM when I forgot my wallet I cannot think of a time it was really *that* useful to begin with.

        • marque2

          We can go into discussions of Apple iPhone failures as well. Too long a subject, but the “they do it right” is a myth perpetrated by the cult as well.

          Point is – back to the subject of the thread. If Apple refuses to put in the correct 5g antennas and modem, it isn’t T-Mobile’s fault. Apple is frequently late to the game because being out of date is perfection.

        • Brad C

          Well as someone who carries both an 11 Pro Max and Note, I can say with certainty that android simply is too fragmented to offer the same experience. Until google gets all those hands out of the pot, Android will never be as good.

          Apple always waits until a tech has matured a bit, and as people who bought Sprint 5G phones are learning, there’s a reason for that. Let the people who want to be beta testers on the “bleeding edge” do that – they have a place. iOS users want things that just work and work well.

          I do like my note though. It’s a fun toy to tinker around with, but it could never ever be my daily driver

        • marque2

          Oh brother, The fragmented trope.

          Do you work for Apple?

        • Brad C

          No, if I did.. I wouldn’t also carry a note.

          The fact of the matter is.. it is fragmented, and google has done little but talk about fixing it. You may not like to hear it, but facts are facts

        • Who cares if it’s fragmented. The Android environment craps all over Apple’s walled os.

        • Brad C

          How’s that? If you like inconsistent experience – sure, if you like no QA on apps coming through the AppStore – sure, patchy security – sure, bad system resource management – you betcha.. android wins in all those categories!

          Literally the *only* thing the droid can do that iPhone can’t is piracy, or cheat my carrier out of free tethering. Other than that there’s not been one single thing I’ve not been able to do in iOS

        • marque2

          Just more fanboi tropes. It is pretty amazing how similar Android phones are. It is also amazing since Google/Samsung et Al don’t force obsolescence on their phones. Play store still works for many years old phones

        • Brad C

          App Store still works on my iPhone 2G, your point?

          Forced obsolescence? How.. you can’t even begin to prove that because it’s not even a thing on the Apple side.

          You can’t name one android phone that’s supported nearly as long as an iPhone (5yrs) with updates you don’t have to go build yourself.. because there are none.

          All the while there’s a Note 9 sitting on my desk that’s been “updated” but not fully updated as Samsung decided it wasn’t good enough to run the current UI? What’s that garbage?

        • marque2

          The point is you are using fan boi tropes to disparage Android phones. Tropes which at best are mildly true, while completely ignoring the problems Apple has had, and still has, as well.

          Apple like Samsung makes some pretty good phones, but Apple hasn’t been problem free and deserves criticism here and there just like others.

          But the overbearing swoon by the fanbois doesn’t make normal thinking people like Apple more. It makes us leery of joining a cult.

        • Brad C

          You can try to spin this however you want, but as someone who carries both… android is just a toy and will be nothing more until google decides its going to become a real OS and enforce some rules from the OEMs they lease the software too..

        • mikeZo6

          Amen

        • TenEightyPeePee

          Yep. People come at me like “Apple Fanboi!!!11” I own several Android devices and also recently gave the S20 Ultra a shot as my daily driver. It disappointed me so bad.

        • Tony

          IPhone is not nearly as good as Android. It’s dumbed down, and locked down. It’s basically for kids and boomers.

        • TenEightyPeePee

          But where the hell could you use Google Wallet? Almost nowhere until Apple stepped up and made the payments SECURE… with tokenization tied into the secure enclave and reliable bio-metrics that the banking systems would TRUST. That is Apple… “doing it right.”

        • marque2

          You are seriously saying Google pay /wallet wasn’t secure? Only Apple? How does it work today – Android certainly doesn’t use Apple technology – the scan pads support multiple technologies – so Google pay must still be unsecure and yet since about 2012 banks let their cards be stolen apparently on the Google system.

        • TenEightyPeePee

          Also… It’s funny you bring up the Samsung commercial. Seems like Samsung cannot sell their devices based on their own merits. Why do they have mention Apple at all in their commercials? Apple doesn’t have to do that to advertise their products…

        • marque2

          Largest phone company in the world by far can’t sell cell phones and is dependent on Apple.

          I really don’t have much beef against Apple, but you fanbois that have never seen a problem with Apple when many exist (like with all consumer electronic companies) and yet claim all the others are nothing but problems are ridiculous.

        • Hahaha

        • TenEightyPeePee

          Very insightful reply

        • Oh. That was a serious reply?

        • Oh, that was a serious reply?

      • slybacon

        Apple launches new phones In the fall. Qualcomm’s new chips are usually available at the first of the year, hence why it feels like “a year or two” behind.

        • marque2

          Apple doesn’t use Qualcomm chips any more. And that doesn’t explain features from Qualcomm that were ignored for more than a year or two.

        • slybacon

          They will be in 2020. They signed a multi-billion dollar contract last year to only use Qualcomm. Then Intel shut down its modem chip business and Apple bought most of it cause they are planning to develop their own modems in the next few years. The iPhone “12” will use the X55 modem (maybe the X60, but probably not). The X55 is already in use by Samsung and others, but Apple doesn’t launch their phones till fall.

        • mikeZo6

          Correct all iphone 12 all Qualcomm Now

    • slybacon

      All networks know this. Apple rules the US smartphone market share.
      T-Mobile should have their Stand Alone 5G network operating by the time new iPhones come out this fall!! 5G will be ripening and maturing just in time ;)

      • mikeZo6

        Apple just works !

    • V2THE1

      Apple doesn’t even have one yet! That really made me laugh!!! :- )

    • Francisco Peña

      talk to Apple management and R&D departments. no one is preventing Apple from adding them, except Apple.

  • stupid8911 .

    Did someone say, “Cake”?

    • thepanttherlady

      Count me in!

  • Willie D

    If TMobile considers this “complete” they will learn a very hard way that this is half assed compared to other networks already. First the Band 71 600Mhz is slow as hell, way slower than AT&T and their low band B5 850Mhz. Second the lack of widespread mmWave in NYC is definitely lacking coverage and speed compared to Verizon and AT&T both. Finally the B41 2.5Ghz spectrum is literally in every market, and TMo would have been much much better positioned to push B41 expansion in NYC over B71 simply for speed considering they aren’t deploying mmWave anymore anywhere. Seems TMo WANTS to be 3rd forever. Complete layer cake my ass.

    • marque2

      I thought TMobile only acquired their 2.5 GHz spectrum 5 weeks ago. Your demands might be a bit much for 5 weeks.

      • Mike

        So basically you will have to go outside for a fast connection on 2.5 ghz and when indoors the phone will go to slower 600 mhz. Good point to push 2.5 ghz over slow nationwide 600 mhz.
        Guess they are doing it backwards from what dumb and dumber are doing.

        • marque2

          2.5 ghz should work fine indoors. Most cell service indoors is in the 1900Mhz which has similar characteristics. Now the mmwave bands could get blocked by your hand. but those are around 33ghz+

  • John Brown

    What are the plans for 5G in rural areas? Please don’t tell me it’s going to be band 71 only. From what I hear it’s as slow as LTE if not slower and definitely not going to perform well enough to keep the promises of 100mbps 5G in rural areas.

    Also, when will the Sprint towers be converted to T-Mobile for LTE? I’m in an area with terrible T-Mobile coverage but absolutely excellent Sprint B41 LTE coverage. I can’t wait for the changeover

    • marque2

      600mhz is a mix of several signals which can be MIMOed together to get a higher combined rate. It probably isn’t as slow as you think. But I would agree 600 or 700mjz would arrive first.

    • Mike

      Hope the change over works towards your advantage with B41.

  • Mike

    It’s always amazing to read how awesome signals are for the big cities, but when it comes down to smaller cities all we can do is read about how great things will be. Currently I’m still on the old school B2 5mhz wide signal which thanks to all the Sprint customers on the network only allow for 1 to 2 meg download at best and the upload can’t even break 1.meg, so to ever see layer cake here will take forever and a miracle. Customer service was quick to wanting to send a signal booster, but the problem is a congested network, making a booster pointless. Please allocate more than 5 mhz for B2, or fix your B4 signal from being directional.

  • Mike

    Where is the extra bandwidth borrowed from Dish?? Still only seeing 5mhz wide on B12 and B2. Please put that extra bandwidth to use, it’s surely needed in Crestview, Fl. Having only 1 to 2 meg speed downloads sucks.

  • Mike

    That picture showing the different layers just goes to say that mmW will be limited for a long time. Rural areas will likely not see it in a long time. So basically, the saying layer cake, will only be for those at the right place at the right time. So what can you call 2 layers ? Lucky at best.